On 12 June, Prof. Mahmood Al-MullaKhalaf, Chair of the G-77 and China and Ambassador of the Permanent Delegation of Iraq; Mr Jorge Chediek, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation and Director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation; Mr. Firmin Matoko, Assistant Director-General, Africa Department, UNESCO; and Clare Stark, Strategic Planning Specialist, Bureau of Strategic Planning, UNESCO, launched UNESCO’s first dedicated report on South-South and triangular cooperation during a panel discussion at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
During his opening remarks, the Chair of the G-77 and China, Prof. Mahmood Al-MullaKhalaf, highlighted the ever increasing role of the Global South in the global development system, as evidenced by the number of developing countries providing development cooperation, which has increased from 66 to 74 percent between 2015 and 2017. He also stressed the important role of South-South and triangular cooperation in accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the importance of strengthening the support of the G-77 and China to UNESCO’s work in this regard.
The Special Envoy for South-South Cooperation, Mr Jorge Chediek, highlighted the excellent cooperation between the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and UNESCO. He noted that the publication is an important contribution to the literature on South-South and triangular cooperation, particularly as the international development community prepares for the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation, which will be held from 20-22 March 2019 in Buenos Aires (BAPA+40). He informed participants that this conference marks the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action on South-South and triangular cooperation. It will provide an opportunity to review lessons learned over the past four decades since the adoption of the Buenos Aires Plan of Action for cooperation between developing countries and to strengthen the conceptual framework for South-South Cooperation.
The Assistant Director-General for the Africa Department, Mr Firmin Matoko, spoke about the importance of South-South and triangular cooperation in supporting the sustainable development of Africa – one of UNESCO’s global priorities – and the need for increased regional integration to support the continent in reaching its development objectives, as outlined by the African Union in its Agenda 2063.
UNESCO’s South-South Cooperation Focal Point, Ms Clare Stark, presented a short film that aimed to bring the publication to life. She also highlighted some of UNESCO’s flagship South-South and triangular cooperation initiatives. In terms of future action, she noted that the forthcoming Structured Financing Dialogue in September was another opportunity for further discussion with development partners on how to further strengthen South-South and triangular cooperation in supporting developing countries achieve their development objectives.
During the ensuing discussion with the audience, which included members of the G-77 and China, a number of speakers noted their appreciation for the publication, which provided concrete information on how UNESCO is promoting South-South and triangular cooperation at the global, regional and country level. The need to revitalize UNESCO’s South-South Cooperation Fund for Education was emphasized.
In his closing remarks, the Chair of the G-77 and China noted that negotiations were underway to identify possible solutions on the best way forward to revitalize the Fund. He also suggested organizing additional consultations on the preparation of BAPA +40 on “The role of South-South cooperation and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Challenges and Opportunities.”